The new measures, to be rolled out from Saturday, will place some limits on social gatherings, hospitality and education but are much less drastic than restrictions seen elsewhere in Europe.
Prime Minister Erna Solberg said the situation in Norway was “very serious,” adding that “we must act now to avoid a new shutdown as in March."
Bars and restaurants will close at midnight and universities and colleges will be encouraged to reduce in-person learning in order to decrease the use of public transportation.
Private, indoor gatherings will be limited to 20 people, while organized indoor events will be limited to 50 without seats or 200 with seats. This comes after private households were told at the end of October to limit at-home gatherings to five guests.
Travelers arriving from the European Union’s “red list” of countries must present a certificate of a negative Covid-19 test, or they could be denied entry into Norway.
Although data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control shows Norway currently has one of the lowest infection rates in Europe, cases have risen sharply in the last two weeks, according to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
Norwegian Health Minister Bent Høie said, "If this development continues, it will create major challenges for our health service, as we see happening in country after country in Europe.”
Norway has recorded at total of 22,575 coronavirus cases so far, including 56 new cases in the last day, with a death toll of 284, according to the latest government data released Wednesday.